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A Conversation With: Tony Darden and Patrick Guay of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

Nick Powills and Charles Internicola are joined by MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes President and COO Tony Darden and franchisee Patrick Guay to discuss how the franchise industry is tackling issues during this difficult time.

The coronavirus continues to have dire effects on businesses across the country, and the franchise industry is no exception. Franchisors across segments are strategizing new ways to support their franchisees, keep customers satisfied, help local communities and come out stronger on the other side of this crisis.

To that end, 1851 Franchise publisher Nick Powills and Charles Internicola, founder and partner of the Internicola Law* Firm, are covering the coronavirus and its impact on businesses through our A Conversation With webinar series.

In today’s morning webinar, Powills and Internicola spoke with MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes* President and COO Tony Darden and franchisee Patrick Guay about how the franchising industry is responding to the crisis.

Here are some of the key insights from their discussion.


It’s a difficult time right now. No one knows what the next week is going to look like. It is critical to take care of the customers you have now. If someone is buying your product or service, go out of your way to make sure they feel good about it and that they are going to return. 


Brands need their people to be aligned on the mission, and leadership teams should approach every issue with a mindset of contribution. They should think about how they can best support their franchisees and help get everyone to the other side of this crisis. Paying delivery fees and offering royalty deferment plans are just a couple of ways in which brands can support their franchisees. Franchisees are the customers of the franchisor. 


This is a time for brands to live up to their values. No brand had a pandemic plan in place when COVID-19 came out. Now, brands can build plans to have in place should a situation like this ever happen again. They can take feedback from franchisees on what works and what doesn’t work and build a time capsule so that if this type of thing ever happens again, everyone will respond better and faster. 

Looking Ahead

There will be a percentage of brands that don’t make it to the other side of this crisis. Those brands’ customers will need to look elsewhere. Brands that do survive must think ahead about how to capture that audience while continuing to battle the front lines of this pandemic. The winners will be those who innovate the fastest. 

Consumer Behaviors

The way people purchase products and services is going to change. The percentage of takeout versus dine-in will change dramatically. Millennial behaviors and preferences must be addressed. 

Some brands may need to rethink their physical spaces after this pandemic and ask themselves if, for example, they truly want a 3,200-square foot store. There will likely be changes to how brands negotiate with landlords and how rents and other major expenditures are structured. 


Brands should come out of this situation with a new set of operational principles that will be different than what they had before. Everyone should evaluate the importance of their relationships with bankers, vendors and others with whom they’ve done business, and they should pay attention to those relationships so when issues do come up, it will be easier to pick up the phone and talk to a human being.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.